Midwife charges dropped over mum's death

Charges against two midwives accused of causing the death of a Melbourne mum have been dismissed.
Charges against two midwives accused of causing the death of a Melbourne mum have been dismissed.

Midwives accused of gross negligence causing the death of Melbourne mother Caroline Lovell hours after she gave birth at home have had charges against them dismissed.

Gaye Demanuele and Melody Bourne were alongside Ms Lovell when she delivered her second daughter in a birthing pool it her Watsonia living room in January 2012.

Ms Lovell fainted getting out of the birthing pool and later went into cardiac arrest. She was resuscitated by paramedics and rushed to hospital but died from multi-organ failure.

Ms Demanuele and Ms Bourne were charged with her manslaughter, allegedly the result of gross negligence in their care of her.

But in a judgment handed down on Friday, Magistrate Peter Reardon found there was insufficient evidence for the case to proceed to trial.

The decision followed a committal hearing in the Melbourne Magistrates Court which began in September last year.

The court heard Ms Lovell had suffered a postpartum haemhorrage after the birth of her first daughter.

Both midwives said they didn't know of the previous troubles and had no reason to suspect complications with her second birth.

Prosecutor Patrick Bourke alleged there had been a number of opportunities at which Ms Demanuele and Ms Bourne had failed to recognise or react to the deterioration of Ms Lovell's condition, and that those failings he'd caused or substantially contributed to her death.

Both women had pleaded not guilty and denied any negligence.

A number of witnesses gave evidence during the proceedings, including Ms Lovell's widower Nick Lovell who defended the women.

His mother Brenda Lovell described the women as a lifeline in the days after her daughter-in-law's death.

Both women were on bail. They are now free.

Australian Associated Press